30-45k - FINALIST
Thanks to a good track record at previous CTOTY events, our judges were keen to see the offerings from MDC this year and as usual, there was plenty to take in. The XT12 is a generous camper, very much for those of us who aim to go offroad and stay there for an extended period of time. Highly specced, it's level of self-sufficiency was right up there, set up time was minimal and all in all, it was an impressive entrant.
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The XT12 is aimed at couples on a budget who want to go offroad with a few comforts and enough durability. At a base price of $40,491 and at $47,299 as we saw it at Mt Warning, it does a reasonable job of that, though it does come with a few penalties (such as weight).
The rear extension for the bed deploys fairly easily, and we watched judge Emma Ryan put it in place and then pack it away single handedly. With the batwing style awning present but not in place the whole package, as we saw it at CTOTY, took about 20 minutes to set up.The roll-out awning covers an area of just 2400x2400mm, and provides only minimal shelter for the kitchen (any sign of inclement weather would demand the rear wall installed) and none for the fridge area as it is forward of the front edge of the awning.
Internally there are the basic necessities of seating for four around an offset swivel table, cupboard and wardrobe storage space, and a small sink under a bench top at the camper’s front wall. The standard of finish, with the Stylelite doors and drawer fronts, was quite good and the vinyl flooring would be easy to keep clean in an outback environment.
The internal ensuite meant the external ensuite was not installed. We did note that the fittings overlapped with a side window creating the potential for some privacy issues. There is an alternate model which does not have the internal ensuite. The presence of an FJ2200 Dometic air conditioner would be great on extreme weather days. The rear-mounted external kitchen was modest in size and while it had the basics it needed some extra bench space.
FOR SERIOUS TOURING
From the ground up the MDC XT12 aims to prove comfort and capability can go hand in hand. Where most trailers on the caravan spectrum will rattle to bits at the first sign of gravel, MDC have gone to great lengths to make sure the XT12 isn’t going to be the weak link in your offroad adventures. At 2,000kg dry it’s no featherweight so may cause issues for small vehicles in soft terrain, but with a short overall length won’t be cause for concern ducking and weaving through tight trees and winding switch backs. In fact, at just 5400mm overall length it’s considerably shorter than just about every traditional camper trailer at CTOTY 2017.
Despite being relatively nimble MDC have decked the XT12 out to take a hit. Underneath it runs a 150x50x3mm hot-dipped galvanised chassis, it’s left raw so there’s no issues of delicate paint or powdercoating being torn to shreds with endless stones and sand blasting the frame. Suspension is MDCs standard independent trailing arm with twin shocks on each swing arm, and they’re actually on an effective angle which isn’t as common as you’d think. While the leading edges are padded and flanks armoured with checkerplate, MDC's gone a step further and included a full wrap around rock-rail system to help deflect wayward obstacles and stop the aluminium-composite body crunching when you run out of talent. If you’ve got a Suzuki Jimny and want to go rock crawling the XT12 might not be your first choice, but for serious touring behind a serious tow-tug it’ll give you comfort and capability in spades.
GET AWAY FROM IT ALL
MDC’s business model is affordable trailers that are highly specced, and so it’s reasonable to expect a decent amount of kit for self-sufficiency on an MDC camper at this price point. And it does a pretty good job. Fresh water capacity sits at 110L, which is acceptable if not amazing, although can be brought up to a 150L if the two jerry can housings are dedicated to water storage. There’s also a large 85L grey water tank, allowing for self-contained camping in areas where it’s mandatory, such as an increasing number of national parks. A hot shower in the bush is a vital part of self-sufficient camping in my book, and to that end the XT12 is very comfortable indeed with an internal ensuite and toilet in the configuration we assessed at CTOTY. This is fed by a Truma gas hot water system.
Power comes from three 100Ah deep cycle AGM batteries with Projector AC and DC charging systems, backed up by three 100W roof-mounted solar panels. There’s a 1000W inverter to power your gadgets, and USB, 12V and 240 outlets where you’d expect them.
If your idea of the ideal camping trip involves as few signs of civilisation as possible, you’ll find a lot to like in the MDC XT12.
BURSTING WITH FEATURES
John ‘Bear’ Willis
One of MDC's new models is the XT12 which is, in their words, “Australia’s extreme terrain 12ft offroad caravan.”
MDC have a successful record at Camper Trailer of the Year, and with the feature packed XT12 we can all expect plenty more from this industry leader.
The XT12 is best described as a pop top, extendible offroad hybrid. It is available in two configurations, one with a complete ensuite enclosed within the body shell, and one without. MDC displayed the option with the ensuite at this year’s CTOTY.
This very compact unit is full of features; none as impressive as the ingenuity of the folding and pull out extendable back of the trailer that greatly increases the living space when you have reached your overnight or long term campsite. A wise man would never underestimate Emma Ryan’s abilities, but she’s not the tallest camper in the outback. However when set the challenge she had the unit fully set up in just a couple of minutes, alone – it’s that easy.
This is an easily towed compact camper for a touring couple that want to be fully self-contained. The X-factor for this complete and highly optioned camper is high providing the security and insulation of a solid shell offroad capable hybrid at well under $50K fully optioned. It’s got it all plus the added option of the ensuite in a very tidy package.
Suspension Independent trailing arm
Brakes 12in electric offroad drum brakes and breakaway system
Coupling McHitch D035 offroad
Chassis 150x50x3mm (galvanised)
Wheel/tyre 4x16in rims, steel radial mud terrain 265/75 R16
Overall length 5.5m (18ft)
External body length 3.65m (11ft 9in)
External body width 2m (6ft 7in)
Travel height 2.25m (7ft 5in)
Internal height 2m (6ft 7in)
Cladding Aluminium composite
Gas 2x9kg gas bottles
Water 110L fresh water, 80L grey water
Cooktop Thetford stainless steel MK3 Argent four-burner hob
Battery 3x100Ah AGM, charged with (240V) Projector 35A 7 stage and Projector 25A 3 stage DC-DC charger
PRICE AS SHOWN
Check out all the action from CTOTY 2018 in issue #122 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.